Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things I Am Loving This Week: It's Back!!! with Asian Taco Truck-Style Tacos, Blogger Meet Ups and Tea

You may have thought that my semi-regular Things I Am Loving This Week feature was never coming back. I got busy and behind and couldn't pull together everything I was loving for a few weeks, but due to popular demand it's back. (OK popular demand equals 3 or 4 of you asking about it. Then I knew for sure that it was time to bring it back when my sister, who only comments on Facebook ;-) mentioned she missed it. Apparently some of you really care about the things I love.) ;-) So this week, it is a bit of a long mish-mash, since it includes more than one week, but here are the (mostly) food-related things I am enjoying and want to share.

First up is tacos--I love me some tacos, in fact I probably eat some sort of taco (usually fish tacos) once a week. They are easy to throw together with whatever you have on hand. Last week, I hooked up with my wonderful blogging friend Kat, here for a visit from Japan, and we tried out the newish T.A.S.T.E. (Tasty Asian Style Taco Eatery) Food Truck for some of their fusion tacos. If you have heard about the famous Kogi trucks from L.A., the T.A.S.T.E. truck is a similar concept, serving small tacos with Asian ingredients.

The truck had six tacos on the menu, five regular and one special. Kat and I bought 4 to share: Shrimp with Honey Mayo & Wafu Dressing, Homemade Charsiu (Chinese bbq pork) with Shoyu Aioli & Hoisin Vinaigrette, Ribeye with Kalbi Marinade and Wasabi Dressing and Mahimahi with Green Onion Ginger Sauce and Miso Dressing. Each Taco was either $2.75 or $3.25 and all were really good, especially the different sauces and dressings. (You can see Kat's more detailed review here).

Fun to eat and it inspired me to throw together a batch of my own Asian-Fusion tacos. Since I had a small Maui Beef tri-tip, I made a kalbi marinade (kalbi or galbi is Korean and refers to grilled dishes, most often ribs, marinated in a sweet, salty, sometimes spicy sauce), then grilled my steak and topped it with the requisite chopped cabbage. For sauce, I went with a Miso sauce with ginger and green onion that I adapted from an Ellie Kriger recipe.

Kalbi-ish Marinade
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen

3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp mirin (Japanese rice wine)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp chili paste
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
Mix ingredients together together until well-blended. Place meat (I used tri-tip) in a Ziploc bag, add marinade and place in fridge 24 hours.

Miso Sauce
adapted from Ellie Krieger

2 teaspoons canola oil
3 scallions, white and green, sliced
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
juice of one lime
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp low-sodium white miso paste
2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the scallions and ginger and saute for 2 minutes. Add the lime juice, chicken broth and rice vinegar and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered. Turn heat to low and stir in the miso paste and sesame oil. Stir until miso paste is dissolved, about 1 minute. Let cool and puree until smooth in a food processor or blender.

Notes/Results: Yum! I made my kalbi marinade a bit spicy and the sweet/spicy tasty was complimented by the creamy, gingery miso sauce. I plan on experimenting with more fusion tacos--they are delicious and a fun way to play with a classic. I think I may be ready for my own food truck! ;-)

Lest you were afraid that Kat and I didn't eat enough, splitting the tacos did leave us plenty of room to grab some mini cupcakes and a cookie at Cake Works down the street from where the taco truck was parked.

I had the mini Orange Cream and Coconut Cream cupcakes (both delicious--the only thing I love more than cupcakes are mini cupcakes!) and got my favorite Ishler cookie (two thin buttery almond shortbread cookies with raspberry jam between and partially dipped in chocolate), for Kat and I to try. Of course Kat just took a nibble, so I had to eat most of the cookie myself. ;-)

That brings me to my next love, getting to spend time with fellow food bloggers. This was actually the second time I got to see Kat on her recent visit. Our first meet up, a few weeks ago, was to try Peace Cafe, a fairly new vegan cafe that I had been wanting to try. I had a kinako latte. Kinako is roasted soy bean flour and it made the iced latte have an almost peanut buttery taste. Really tasty iced.

For lunch I ordered the Moroccan Stew--served with brown rice, salad and pickles and Kat got the Cilantro Hummus Sandwich. Both were good and quite filling. The downside was that everything is served in cardboard take-out boxes and there are no plates so it made sharing a bit more tricky, but we managed, both taking turns dipping our spoons in and eating our messy sandwich halves on napkins. Of course we had room for dessert. Kat got the Cocoa Berry Mochi cake--like a chewy brownie but not too sweet, and I got the kinako cookies. Like the latte, they have a nutty taste and were quite good. I will go back--I have been craving another latte.

Finally, as you know, I love tea and I also love that my tea cup runneth over with great teas, and all from some special blogger friends. First off, Kat was sweet enough to bring me a goodie bag packed with fun stuff when we met up. A box of Pukka Detox tea (fennel seeds, aniseed, licorice root, cardamom) and a package of their Three Berry tea (elderberry, blueberry and blackberry). Both are excellent. There was a box of tea-flavored cookies--soft and chewy with good flavor and some small chocolates (I ate them before I took the picture.) ;-) And if that wasn't enough, she made me an adorable little beaded purse to hook on a cell phone or bag. So sweet of her! I have been enjoying everything.

I am a lucky girl in that I also got a package of dark Turkish Black Tea a while ago from lovely Rebecca at Chow & Chatter. I am delinquent in not posting about it sooner. This tea is not for the faint of heart--it is very strong and full-flavored, but quite good and excellent when paired with the tea cookies from Kat as they sweeten it up a bit.

Spencer, aka The Mouse, from Live2EatEat2Live contributes often to Souper Sundays and his partner in crime, The Cat was sweet enough to bring me bag another bag of tea from her latest trip to China. Some gorgeous Dragon Pearl Jasmine from Ningbo, close to Shanghai. It is light, floral and slightly sweet in flavor. Very delicate and delicious.

Much thanks to Kat, Rebecca and The Mouse and The Cat ;-) for feeding my tea fixation!

I am sending this post and especially the homemade Asian Taco Truck-Style Tacos to Two for Tuesdays, co-hosted by my friend girlichef. Celebrating "real food" in all it's glory. ;-)

So there you have it--the Things I Am Loving This Week.

How about you? What are you enjoying?


  1. I shouldn't read your blog when I am hungry. I am off to find some tacos. Somewhere.

  2. I'm very excited about the taco trend too! This looks like a wonderful recreation with several pan-Asian influences.

    I also love really good tea with good tea cookies, I've never tried MF cookies, love their teas though, it must have been a match made in heaven with the Turkish black tea.

  3. I'm a new reader, so I've never seen your "Things I Am Loving This Week" feature - but I have to say, I like it a lot! Glad you brought it back.

    And YUMM!!! to those tacos!

  4. I love everything you love!

  5. Those tacos look just amazing - and the cakes are lovely too! Sounds like you have had a good week :-)

  6. I'm so sorry, my comment went up without my web address attached, so here it is this time!!

  7. Wow, your cup runneth over of things to love!
    So nice to spend time with fellow bloggers, and such delicious fare!

  8. I have fish thawing in the fridge right now that is destined to be fish tacos now! How fun to spend time with another blogger!! Thanks for linking this to Two for Tues!

  9. Those kalbi-marinated tacos sound really great.

  10. Deb! I am loving that you got to meet up with another foodie blogger! Being in Hawaii of course doesnt hurt in the form of bait! I am in New york, so I should start talking that up! The tacos also look delicious and its nice to see you on the Two for tuesday blog hop! :) Alex@amoderatelife

  11. Well, I'm definitely glad that the things you're loving is back...I love seeing everything you love ;) I'm down with the tacos...I'd totally want to try each one! I want a meet-up!!! Thanks for sharing the things you love with t4t this week, too =)

  12. I've been busy and behind all summer! These little interesting type tacos are "things I've been loving for months". Great post.

  13. I love the idea of fusion tacos, as well as your take on fixing them at home. Will have to put that truck stop on my list, for next time we're in Honolulu. Where do they usually park?

  14. Hooray! I'm so happy to see the things you're loving this week:) Sounds like you have been busy eating tacos, making tacos, meeting up with blogging pals, receiving lots of goodies, and drinking lots of tea! Did I forget to mention eating cupcakes? Sounds like a lot of love to me:)

    P.S. I'm now craving tacos. Love those unique versions.

  15. I did miss Things I Am Loving these past few weeks. But I knew it would be back. You're too much of a loving person not to cave in eventually!

    These tacos sound awesome. I haven't seen taco carts in NYC yet, although I'm sure they're out there!

  16. I wish we'd get some of those taco trucks coming our way. Guess we'll have to head over to Hawaii!

  17. I make kalbi too but adding chili paste is something I have not tried...sounds awesome!

  18. yum! your tacos sound great! glad you liked all the things I gave you :)

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  20. I'm a bit taco crazy myself. :) Love your marinade and the sauce here. Add cupcakes to the list of things I'm crazy for as well. Those flavors sound great.

    I am loving our fall-like weather this week. It has me craving apple cider, pumpkin and caramel apples! :)


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